Mary Beth Writes

Yesterday Len took this photo of two ospreys checking out their nest. He has been observing them for more than a week when he bicycles in their neighborhood. So far both birds will leave their nest for extended periods of time, so he doesn’t think they have chicks yet. 

A curious and true reality.

1. “Astroturfing” is a new social media term. It refers to phenomena such as the anti-quarantine protests that we have all seen covered on TV and in social media.

“… evidence has emerged that these may not be grassroots protests, but "astroturf"—in other words, a simulation of grassroots action … some of the largest Facebook groups used to organize many of these protests are run by a family of far-right, pro-gun activists: Ben Dorr, political director of a gun-rights group in Minnesota, and his brothers, Christopher and Aaron. The Facebook groups have become sources of the same kinds of misinformation about the coronavirus that have been seen at a number of the protests—that the virus is no worse than the flu, that the scientists working on a vaccine have ulterior motives, and so on. By Sunday, the groups had more than 200,000 members. According to the Post, other demonstrations have been promoted by the Michigan Freedom Fund, which is headed by a longtime adviser to Dick DeVos, husband of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (the family denies organizational or financial involvement.).” This is from the Columbia Journalism Review https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/amplifying-coronavirus-protests.php

Not every grassroots movement is grassroots. Some are astroturf.

BUT! Have you noticed some media is beginning to report these statistics? - About 30% of Americans support the protests but 70% want quarantining to continue until there is a safe way to return to whatever will be our next normal.

70% is a lot more than 30%. It helps to understand that we are not a minority.

2. Gerrymandering in Wisconsin: “… the data show that 64 of the 99 districts are more Republican than the state as a whole, based on their vote for governor.

In other words, Republicans enjoy a built-in 64-35 advantage in the partisan makeup of the 99 Assembly districts. In a hypothetical 50-50 election, in which there are equal numbers of Democratic and Republican voters in Wisconsin, no one crosses party lines and independents split down the middle, that translates into a massive 29-seat GOP advantage in the Assembly.”

The reason Republicans usually win everything in Wisconsin is because gerrymandered districts are absolutely skewed that way. Democrats outvote Republicans in elections, yet it is almost impossible for a Democrat to win any open state-level election. “Democrats won 53% of all the Assembly votes cast statewide while coming away with only 36% of the seats.”

Read the article. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/blogs/wisconsin-voter/2018/12/06/wisconsin-gerrymandering-data-shows-stark-impact-redistricting/2219092002/

3. So why is this is my diary of living through this time in American history?  Because it indicates something I think most of us who are not politicians or campaign consultants are not cognizant of.  There are more Democrat-values leaning people in this state and nation than there are Republican-values leaning. 

I’m not saying Dems have it all right and Republicans are always wrong.  I AM saying that there are systems in place that are obscuring what most people care about and want.

We don’t have to teach people how to have values. We DO have to fight the corruption and manipulation of systems.

There’s a big difference there and it affects where we spend our time, money, and energy.

We are hosting our “Zoom and Cookies with Tom Palzewicz” next Thursday evening. If you are our friend and you also live in Wisconsin’s District 5 - we will be sending the invitation email to you. Gary, we are sending one to you.  Anyone else who is interested should send their email address to me at MB@MaryBethDanielson.com or put your address in the comment window. We will include you.  

We are not driving cookies to Chicago or Vermont - although a car trip it is seriously tempting.

 

 

 

 

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Quarantine Diary #312

“You know me, I think there ought to be a big old tree right there. And let's give him a friend. Everybody needs a friend.” ― Bob Ross

This tree lives in Waukesha and stopped me in my tracks when I was out for a walk.

...

 When will this Quarantine Diary end? When Len and I drive out not wearing masks to go to a place where we will stay overnight. Just letting you know. FYI we started last year on Friday the 13th of March.

 …

Quarantine Diary #308 1/15/2021

My life is pretty fine, and I bet yours is, too. Warm place to live. Food to eat. Friends to share and laugh with - even if we have to do it via Zoom.

At the same time, who isn’t feeling anxiety and dread? Will the white supremacist insurrectionist knobs attack the inaugural? Will they screw up state capitols and infrastructure? One lone guy blew up Nashville a mere three weeks ago. What the hell is going on?

Quarantine Diary #307 Brain Names

Remember when there was no autism? Sure, there were kids in our schools who were weirdly able to remember stuff, or were hard to control, or whose emotions triggered at the oddest time. We generally ignored those kids. Those of us who were kind did, anyways. Others bullied. 

Remember the mopey kids in high school who knew too much about depressing art and angsty music and sometimes killed themselves?

Quarantine Diary #306 Hunched Over & Paying Attention

I am going to write some Quarantine Diary entries again. There’s a lot going on and sometimes it helps to hear a small voice as well as the big voices of journalists, pundits, networks, the other public media we follow.

I have had a small headache off and on for days. I worried that I might have contracted Covid, except dang it, I haven’t gone anywhere! And then, thinking about it, I realized I am hunched over my phone much more than usual. These mild on-again, off-again headaches are from eyestrain and weird posture.

Rime and Treason

These photos were taken by Len on Monday in that other time and world that existed before the Trump gorgons mobbed the Capitol. (Gorgons existed in Greek literature. Gorgons are the poisonous siblings with hair of living snakes. Those who beheld them face-to-face turned to stone. Or were killed by being beaten by a fire extinguisher.)

I have been trying to write about that but it is too hard. There is so much that is clear and is informative. You are reading it as much as I am. Blessed be the journalists, right? 

Quarantine Diary #292 New Year's Eve

Many of us feel as if we are in limbo until Biden takes office. I don’t think you need me to say a lot about how long and hard this year has been; we’ve been in this dentist’s chair together.

But...

Did you see how many days quarantine has lasted? 292 days.

So far.

This week I read a remarkable essay. On Natural Landscapes, Metaphorical Living, and Warlpiri Identity, by Barry Lopez. https://lithub.com/. Life is weird. The day after I read it, Mr. Lopez died.

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